Friday, December 02, 2005

Trafalgar Week

We met on Saturday, the red cross
on your sleeves creased, shimmered
from the heat of walking the crowds.
The square was littered with loungers,
their rainbow flags hoisted
across bare shoulders; lagers
and wine bottles shared, emptied
with strangers well met; the stage
beside the column thumping
messages of pride, liberty,
love and love action. We kissed
amid the pigeons, man to man.

Wednesday was a work day, a day
of sunshine and quiet hope. A screen
hung between the lions, its crowds
a fashion of flags and cheer, a job
well done. This collective worship
was competitive, a unity of mouths
open to hear news from Asia; our team
competing for the greatest prize
and when the vote came through
their arms erupted like pigeons
and I, too, watching on my office
monitor, hugged colleagues in joy.

Today I walk through the litter
of yesterday's party, just twelve
crowded hours gone. Some tourists
are lost in the space beneath
the column; a child climbs a lion.
Sirens reek through the air, scare
pigeons into cooing clouds. The Arch,
The Mall, the Parade: deserted. I meet
colleagues in my office, their relief
feeding my curiosity - what's happened?
And there on the screen, a red bus
to Hackney busted in seams and blood.

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